PSY 571: Seminar in Social Psychology on Climate Change

PSY 571: Seminar in Social Psychology on Climate Change


Janet Swim

Days Taught:


Time Offered:


Semester Offered:

Spring 2024

Climate change is caused by human behavior, ranging from individual actions to company decision-making that influence business practices. The role of behaviors and decision-making means that psychology is central to understanding why we have created this threat and how we can work as individuals and members of communities to alter the direction of the shared path we are traveling. Yet, as members of the planet, psychological dimensions of climate change represent much more than this. These dimensions also encompass the psychological impacts of the changes we are creating. The impacts include the immediate mental health consequences of natural disasters and the anxieties we face living in an ecological environment that is changing around us and expected to continue to do so. These impacts mean that psychology is also relevant for helping us cope with various impacts, recognize and address climate change injustices, and be responsive to climate injustices created by existing disparities within and between countries.

We will cover these topics through in-class activities and reading and discussing summaries of research literature paired with exemplary research studies. We will also explore how Penn State, local communities, and psychologists across the globe are responding to the challenges before us.


Social and Behavioral Sciences, Social Sciences